World Cup 2022 – Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 Pens)

World Cup 2022 - Morocco 0-0 Spain (4-0 pen)
World Cup 2022 - Morocco 0-0 Spain (4-0 pen)

La Roja missed all three of their penalties in the shoot-out as the North Africans made it to the quarter-finals for the first time.

World Cup 2022 – Morocco 0-0 Spain (3-0 Pens), La Roja pulled an Japan-esque shoot-out with three missed penalties as the only African side remained and advanced to the quarterfinals.

Key moments

  • Asensio and Aguerd came close to score for either side in the first half
  • Sarabia hit the post in the last minute of extra time
  • Penalty shoot-out after goalless extra time

Game highlights

Spain’s current generation aimed to re-create World Cup 2010’s magic, but in the end, it was the nightmare of 2018 all over again as they missed all of their spot-kicks in a penalty shoot-out defeat to Morocco and exited at the last-16 tie.

Possession was still Luis Enrique’s weapon as they dominated the game but struggled to carve out many chances.

In fact, Spain had only one effort in the first half, which was an forgettable record as their lowest shot count in a World Cup match since 1966.

Marco Asensio was the man responsible, who got behind the defence from his smart moves, but the shot followed was terrible as it was wide near post.

Morroco vs Spain, World Cup 2022 – Marco Asensio shot wide

North African side Morocco calmly waited and produced counter-attacks. They pressed Spain smartly and had three decent chances, the clearest being a free header for Nayef Aguerd which narrowly missed the target.

The match remained tense with both sides creating chances til the few minutes of normal time, but neither could celebrate.

Extra time

Similar to the Japan vs Croatia tie, extra time came with similar script. Walid Cheddira had some of the best shots when the substitute failed to score inside the penalty area as he managed to fire at goal but was thwarted by Simon’s right leg.

Substitute Sarabia had a glorious chance to win the match with practically the last kick. The ball fell to him inches from goal at the far post but, from a difficult angle, he hit the far post.

World Cup 2022 – Morocco 0-0 Spain, Morocco had their chances

Hitting the post was never a good sign, with shoot-out’s imminent….

The shoot-out

After 120 minutes of goalless domination, came the second penalty shoot-out in the World Cup 2022 last-16 tie, and somehow, they were almost identical.

Spain was never the lucky one when it came down to this, as they failed in the World Cup 2002 against Korea, then World Cup 2018 against Russia and lately, was the heartbroken semifinal vs England in the Euro 2020.

This time it was no different, as Luis Enrique’s side capitulated in the shoot-out with Pablo Sarabia, Carlos Soler and Sergio Busquets all missing, the latter two efforts saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

World Cup 2022 – Morocco 0-0 Spain, Bounou turned hero in shoot-out

Abdelhamid Sabiri and Hakim Ziyech scored theirs but Badr Benoun was thwarted by Unai Simon, but everyone knew, it was the end for Spain.

Madrid-born Achraf Hakimi was handed with the chance to win it which he did in style with a Panenka to send Morocco through to the last eight for the first time.

World Cup 2022 – Morocco 0-0 Spain, Hakimi celebrated after the final penalty shot

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Notable stats

  • Spain have exited their last three major competitions on penalties, losing to Russia at the 2018 World Cup and to Italy at UEFA EURO 2020.
  • Morocco are the fourth African side to reach the quarter-final of a World Cup tournament after Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010.
  • Spain have been eliminated in three of their last four games in the last 16 at the World Cup, losing on penalties at this stage in each of the last two editions (v Russia in 2018).
  • Morocco are the first African nation to win a penalty shoot-out at the World Cup, with this just the second one contested by an African side (previously Ghana v Uruguay, 2010).
  • Spain have become the first nation in World Cup history to lose four penalty shoot-outs, and just the second side to not score in one (after Switzerland vs Ukraine in 2006).

What’s next

Spain go home while Morocco play Portugal in the quarter-finals at Al Thumama Stadium on Saturday.

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By Tom

Never stop learning, never stop creating!

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